The completion of the PhD requires reading knowledge of a minimum of two foreign languages relevant to the student’s field of study (more than two may be required in some cases and must be determined in consultation with the faculty advisor). Applicants are expected to already possess reading proficiency in at least one of the two languages for which they will be responsible. New students shall sit for at least one language exam upon arrival at UCLA.
Students at the MA stage are expected to satisfy their first foreign language requirement by the end of the 3rd quarter in residence. It is highly recommended that they complete the second language requirement by the end of the 6th quarter in residence.
Students at the PhD stage are expected to satisfy their second foreign language requirement by the end of the 1st quarter and any additional languages by the end of the 3rd quarter in residence (or in consultation with the major advisor).
Fulfilling the Language Requirement
Option 1: Pass the Departmental Foreign Language Exam.
The language exam consists of translation of a text of 300-700 words chosen by the examiner to be translated into English in three hours (use of a non-electronic dictionary is allowed). Specific qualities of the language and expected level of proficiency in the field will impact the choice and length of the selected text. The Department expects accurate rendition in English rather than a strict translation, word for word, and values the quality of the translation over the completion of the exam.
Language exams are scheduled four times a year, approximately three weeks prior to finals week during the regular academic quarters. Entering students must sit for the first language exam in the first week of the fall quarter. Exam results will be sent out by email within three weeks of the exam date. If feedback on the exam is desired after the results have been announced, students are welcome to contact the examiner. If a student fails the exam and wants to appeal, he or she should contact the Chair of the Language Committee or Director of Graduate Studies.
Option 2: Complete UCLA courses French 6, German 6, Italian 6, Spanish 25, or other relevant language classes with a minimum grade of “B”.
The following is a general guideline for language requirements in relation to specific fields of study. The final selection and number of languages is to be determined in consultation with the primary advisor.
Indigenous African languages, Arabic, French, German, Portuguese
Akkadian, Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Latin
Two East Asian languages, for pre-modern studies additionally literary Chinese or Japanese
French, German, Greek, Latin, Italian, Slavic Languages, Turkish, Spanish
One European language, one indigenous language (e.g., Quechua, Nahuatl, Maya), one other language (depending on topic)
Arabic, Turkish/Ottoman, Persian, French, German
Spanish (mandatory), French, German, Portuguese
Modern & Contemporary Europe & America
French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian
Italian, French, Spanish, German, Latin, Dutch, Slavic Languages, Latin and/or Greek (depending on topic)
Sanskrit, Hindi/Urdu, Persian
Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian